We Will Remember Them

On this day in history, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the first world war ended. At that moment, the armistice was signed between the allies and Germany in a train carriage in the forest of Compiegne.

As I sit here writing this, we have just had the traditional two minutes silence which symbolises that moment when the guns fell silent. I may not be at work today, but it did not stop me from setting aside two minutes as BBC 1 had their own ceremony as the country fell into silence. And as I sat there I remembered not only those who have lost their lives in the First World War but those who lost their lives in more recent conflicts as well as conflicts dotted throughout history.
The poem quoted below is one that we all know, written by Laurence Binyon in 1914 as he was serving with the army in France, and the fourth stanza (highlighted in bold) is the one that is frequently read at services of remembrance:

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

1 thought on “We Will Remember Them

  1. What can one add in comment to those poignant words except 'thank you' to those who the poem immortalizes.

    Thank you for posting! I love that graphic BTW as it reminds me of poetry too.

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